Is the economy bouncing back? Retail figures up for Jan 2013
Boost comes after disastrous month in which three major brands went into administration
COULD British retail be bouncing back? Despite a disastrous January which saw major brands Blockbuster, Jessops and HMV enter administration retail sales grew 1.9 per cent year-on-year, according to figures released today.
The statistics, from the British Retail Consortium (BRC), represent the largest such increase since December 2011, the BBC reports. They also follow a 0.3 per cent rise in sales for December 2012.
Helen Dickinson, the BRC's director general said she believed "recovering consumer confidence" led to "a more successful January than we saw last year". According to Dickinson the popularity of tablet computers and smart phones boosted the figures.
Even the poor weather last month did not drive shoppers away for long.
"People were tempted out by offers and promotions but also treated themselves to full-price and premium products early in January, particularly must-have technology items", she said.
The news came after reports that Morrisons bought seven stores from PricewaterhouseCoopers - administrators of the collapsed camera retailer Jessops - for an undisclosed fee.
Despite the positive statistics for the High Street, a forecast by respected think tank the National Institute of Economic and Social Research has predicted the economy will grow by just 0.7 per cent in
2013 - below the government forecast of 1.2 per cent - and then 1.5 per cent in 2014, The Independent reports.
The think tank said in a statement it was time for Chancellor George Osborne to adopt a "looser fiscal policy" to address Britain's economic problems.